New tool helps young people remove naked photographs of them shared online

New tool helps young people remove naked photographs of them shared online

The Internet Watch Foundation and Childline have launched an online tool to help young people remove naked images of themselves from the internet.

There are many reasons as to why a young person may share a naked picture of themselves, including sharing with a partner who has then shown other people or where grooming and/or blackmailing has occurred.

However, the Report Remove tool enables children under the age of 18 to report a nude image or photo of themselves on the internet to the Internet Watch Foundation which reviews the reports and work to have the content removed if it breaks the law.

Cormac Nolan, Service Head of Childline Online said: “The impact of having a nude image shared on the internet cannot be underestimated and for many young people, it can leave them feeling extremely worried and unsure on what to do or who to turn to for support.

“That’s why Childline and the IWF have developed Report Remove to provide young people a simple, safe tool that they can use to try and help them regain control over what is happening and get this content erased.

“Any young person who makes a report should also receive feedback on the outcome of their report in one working day from the IWF via Childline.

“Additionally, Childline also has lots of information on how children and young people can keep themselves safe online as well as advice on what to do if they are feeling pressured to send a nude image and what they can do to help them cope if a situation of this nature has happened.”

Reports of self-generated images to the IWF have more than doubled from January to April this year compared with the same period last year.

Trained Childline counsellors have been told by young people of the embarrassment, fear and self-loathing they feel when a naked image of themselves has been shared on the internet.

The Report Remove tool was first piloted in February 2020 and is available on the Childline website.

To report a nude image or video, the young person has to verify their age. The Childline service ensures all young people are safeguarded and supported throughout the process and young people can expect the same level of confidentiality they would from all their interactions with Childline. Young people using the tool do not need to provide their real name to Childline or IWF if they don’t want to.

The tool has been developed in collaboration with law enforcement to make sure that children will not be unnecessarily visited by the police when they make a report.

Chief Executive of the IWF which works to eliminate child sexual abuse imagery online, Susie Hargreaves OBE, said: “When images of children and young people are taken and spread around the internet, they lose control. This is about giving them that control back.

“Once those images are out there, it can be an incredibly lonely place for victims, and it can seem hopeless. It can also be frightening, not knowing who may have access to these images.

“This tool is a world first. It will give young people the power, and the confidence, to reclaim these images and make sure they do not fall into the wrong hands online,” she added.

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